Opportunities, challenges and lessons learned.

(Head Department of Archaeological Heritage, Direction of Cultural Heritage, Urban.brussels)

Between February and July 2019, prior to the construction of the new administrative center of the City of Brussels, Belgium, a preventative archaeological excavation has taken place in the middle of the historical city center, on a 6.000m² building plot located on top of the medieval harbor and the Senne-river. Next to a complete new insight into river management, the multitude of extraordinary finds, preserved as a result of the exceptional conservation conditions, gives a comprehensive innovative understanding of Brussels’ daily life from the 10th till the 16th century.

© Ann Degraeve

In parallel, an organically grown social media campaign has unexpectedly created a citizen platform and movement which has brought a large number of benefits to the already strong archaeological procedures in place, as well on the legislative level as regarding the data processing towards a future visualization of this exceptional site.

© Ann Degraeve

If the processing of the enormous amount of (digital) data is still ongoing, it is absolutely certain that this excavation will not only rewrite the city’s history but will also be a turning point in the sharing of our data with the general public.